James D Gearing DDS
Surely you know what a root canal is. But have you ever heard of an “apicoectomy”? As Endodontists, we are always trying to get to the root of the problem, but the methods vary sometimes from case to case. So move over, root canal, while we give these other endodontic treatments a moment in the spotlight:
A type of endodontic surgery, apicoectomy (pronounced “ape-icko-ectomy”) focuses on the “apex” (the tip) of the tooth root. The procedure is used when root canal treatment alone isn’t enough to adequately fix a diseased tooth. By accessing the tip of the root area through the gums, we can detect any hidden fractures or canals that are still causing tooth pain. We then remove the root apex and seal it to complete the procedure.
Endodontic retreatment refers to a second root canal treatment, when the first wasn’t adequate in fully removing the infection. It is not common to have to undergo retreatment, but it does happen. If pain persists in a tooth months or years after root canal treatment, it often means that there were hidden canals that need further treatment to fully resolve the infection and save the tooth.
Because a cracked tooth often means infection in the roots, Endodontists are often the first to treat and assess a broken or cracked tooth. There are many different types of fractures in a tooth, from a full split down the middle to a cracked crown. Each requires quick professional action in order to save the tooth, which must be sealed (and in some cases the root pulp must be removed).
Referred to as a “baby root canal” because it is often the treatment of choice in children with severe decay, a pulpotomy typically removes just the diseased pulp (as opposed to all of it) in hopes of leaving the healthy pulp sterilized and intact for further use within the natural tooth.
Infected or dead teeth can often appear darker than healthy teeth. Because this type of discoloration is internal, it requires a different type of teeth whitening than what most patients are used to. With internal bleaching, we perform a root canal to remove infected pulp and then place a whitening material inside the tooth to dissolve the stained material.
Have you always wondered what Endodontists do? Please browse our website or call us at 209-532-6718 for more information.
Mar 3rd, 2020
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Why should teeth get all the fame? Since the beginning of time, teeth have taken center stage in the oral health arena, while their close cousins, the gums, have occupied more of a back-seat role. So, we have decided to dedicate this article to gums! What makes them healthy, what makes them sick, and why they are so important for whole-body health?
Gingiva, or “gums”, are the mucosal tissue that cover the jaw and hold the teeth in place. When they are healthy and properly intact, they offer a protective barrier for the jaw and tooth roots against food and bacteria.
Healthy gums typically are coral pink in color, and not recessed far above the tooth. They show a scalloped appearance over each tooth, are firm and resist movement. They take brushing and flossing well, usually with no reaction whatsoever.
By contrast, unhealthy gums may exhibit red, white and even blue hues, have a puffy or orange peel texture and may bleed when brushed or flossed. Untreated periodontal disease can affect the whole body, as it is related to health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. Also, it can result in lost teeth and poor nutrition down the road.
Prevention is Key:
The good news is that most cases of periodontal disease are preventable. While we don’t know exactly what role genetics play in terms of periodontal health, we do know that practicing good oral health is the first step to preventing periodontal disease. Habits such as brushing twice and flossing once per day and regular exams and cleanings can help many people prevent or slow the progression of gum disease.
We hope you have learned something new about your gums!
If you have any questions about your gums, don’t hesitate to give us a call!
Feb 4th, 2020
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As with any other health related topics, there are many common myths that seem to follow root canals around, so we are here to set the record straight!
Here are five of the most common questions we hear in our practice every day:
1. After a root canal is my tooth dead?
No. Many people believe that root canal therapy kills teeth, but it’s quite the opposite!. During a root canal procedure, we remove only the infected tissue inside of the tooth, leaving healthy nerves and blood vessels to grow and heal from within.
2. Are root canals very painful?
While many people think the procedure itself is the source of the pain, it’s actually caused by the inflammation from the infection. The root canal procedure is ultimately relieving that pain! However, it is true that you will still experience some discomfort as the site heals after the therapy, sometimes lasting a few days to a few weeks.
3. I’ve heard that the pain will never go away completely, is that true?
No. A successful root canal will eliminate the underlying pain. If you are still experiencing pain after the normal healing time, we will investigate other causes such a fractured tooth. It’s important that you let us know if you’re still feeling pain after the allotted recovery time!
4. Does root canal therapy take more than one visit?
Sometimes, but more often than not we can complete the procedure from start to finish in one single visit to our office!
5. Are root canals expensive?
The cost varies depending on many factors, including how bad the infection is, whether it is the first treatment or a retreatment, and your insurance options. However, root canal therapy is less expensive than extraction and replacement down the road.
Simply put, a root canal allows us to save a tooth that is otherwise headed for extinction. Once decay and infection enter the interior of the tooth where the nerves and blood vessels are, it is only a matter of time before the infection takes over those nerves and the tooth dies. When a tooth dies, we have no alternative but to extract and replace it, either with a dental implant, spacer or denture.
We want you to keep your natural teeth as long as you can during your lifetime! Natural teeth look, feel and function better than artificial teeth and protect the jaw from bone loss. In order to save a tooth that has reached this inner level of decay, we always recommend root canal therapy, during which we go in and clean the infected area out and seal it off to allow it to heal and prevent further infection. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact our office today!
Root Canals: BC
To this day we still don’t know how long root canal therapy has been around. The first traces of root canal therapy can be dated back to second or third century B.C. when a human skull was discovered in a desert in Israel, and a bronze wire was found inside that scientists believe was used to treat an infected canal. The wire was located at the site of the infection, which is the exact spot that would be targeted during modern day root canal therapy. The archaeologists who discovered the remains believe that the procedure was performed by the Romans, who are said to have invented dentures and crowns.
More Advancements: AD
Evidence shows that from the first century A.D. until the 1600s, the treatment for root canals included the draining of the pulp chambers to relieve pain, and then covering them with a protective coating made from either gold foil or asbestos. Around 1838, the first official root canal instrument was constructed. It was made to allow easier access to the pulp that is located within the root of the tooth. A few years later, around 1847, a safer material known as “gutta percha” was created to use as a filling once the root canal was cleaned out. Both of these materials are still used today by Endodontists.
20th Century Technology:
When we entered the 20th century, dental technology advanced. Anesthetics and x-rays were instituted into dental practices, which made treating an infected root canal easier and safer. These technological advancements have allowed for alternative treatments to pulling teeth. Root canal therapy has advanced so much that it is now a nearly painless procedure! For more information on root canal treatments, call our office at Sonora Office Phone Number 209-532-6718 and schedule your appointment today.
Dec 3rd, 2019
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Yes, You Still Have to Floss. No, the dance move “flossing” does not count. The AP recently released an article making the claim that “there’s little proof that flossing works”. Their review cited a series of studies that found flossing does little or nothing to improve oral health. Here’s the problem: the studies were flawed. The AP concluded that floss does little for oral health, but it’s important to note that the evidence they cited was very weak at best. In fact, they said so themselves.
As acknowledged by the AP, many of these studies were extremely short. “Some lasted only two weeks, far too brief for a cavity or dental disease to develop” (Associated Press). They also say that “One tested 25 people after only a single use of floss” (Associated Press).
Of course, the evidence is unreliable. You don’t simply develop gum disease because you forgot to floss yesterday. Cavities and gum disease do not happen overnight. Gum disease is preventable by maintain great oral health habits for a long period of time. Lets put it this way: If a study claims drinking milk does nothing for bone health, but draws conclusions after only three glasses of milk, is it a reliable study?
The fact of the matter is floss removes gunk from teeth. You can see it. Gunk feeds bacteria which leads to plaque, cavities, poor gum health, and eventually gum disease. Floss has the ability to reach the food particles that your brush can’t get to. Using a sawing motion instead of moving up and around the teeth to clean the cracks. Positive results come from correct use and it’s critical that people learn to use a tool properly before discarding it as useless.
That’s just what floss is: a tool. Just like your toothbrush, it is designed to keep your mouth clean, and therefore keep your body safe from infection. Both your toothbrush and floss are designed to do what the other can’t, and both successfully remove bacteria from your mouth. Just like proper brushing technique, it is important that you know how to use floss properly, so that you can reap the long-term health benefits of good oral hygiene.
Oral hygiene is a long-term process and requires long term observations to make worthwhile conclusions. In the meantime, it’s obvious that you should continue to do everything you can to protect your well-being, and floss is one of many tools that can help you do that. If you would like a refresher on the best, most efficient techniques for floss use feel free to call our office today
Nov 5th, 2019
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A root canal is a procedure that saves a natural tooth that has become decayed or infected. Your endodontist will remove the tooth’s nerve and pulp (the tissue inside the teeth) and will clean and seal the tooth, therefore halting any more decay. Root canal procedures are often very effective in saving natural teeth.
Do I Need a Root Canal?
Without treatment, an infected tooth can worsen and may need removal, or sometimes can cause abscesses. Abscesses are pus-filled pockets that occur when the decay and bacteria has spread beyond the tooth’s roots. It’s important to address an infection before an abscess occurs!
Is a Root Canal Painful?
After a root canal procedure, some tenderness and soreness may occur in the area surrounding the infected tooth. It is normal to experience some pain and swelling, which typically goes down with time and proper care. Most people experience at least some discomfort post root canal procedure.
Root Canal: A Two Step Procedure
A root canal is a two-step procedure – a final crown needs to be placed over the tooth in order to seal it from any further infection or decay. While you are recovering from the initial visit, it is important to remember to take good care of the tooth before the crown visit, because the tooth is fragile and can easily break. Once the tooth crown is placed, the restored tooth can last as long as your natural teeth!
Preventing a Root Canal
Ways to prevent further root canals include: practicing good oral hygiene by properly brushing and flossing, seeing your dentist regularly for teeth cleanings and check-ups, and avoiding foods high in sugar, starch and acid – which contributes to increased tooth decay.
We are here to make you feel comfortable and answer any questions you may have before deciding to follow through with your procedure. Please feel free to call our office if you have any other questions regarding Root Canals.
Fluoride is often called nature’s cavity fighter, and for good reason! Fluoride, a naturally-occurring mineral, helps prevent cavities by making your enamel more resistant to the acid that causes tooth decay.
Before teeth are fully grown, the fluoride taken in from foods and beverages help make tooth enamel stronger. This provides what is called a “systemic” benefit. After teeth are grown, fluoride helps rebuild weakened tooth enamel and reverses early signs of tooth decay. When you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, the fluoride is applied to the surface of your teeth. This provides what is called a “topical” benefit.
In addition, the fluoride you take in from foods and beverages continues to provide a topical benefit because it becomes part of your saliva, constantly bathing the teeth with tiny amounts of fluoride that help rebuild weakened tooth enamel.
How Do You Get Fluoride?
#1 Drink Water with Fluoride
Fluoride is naturally found in most water sources. For the past 70 years, fluoride has been added to public water supplies to bring fluoride levels up to the amount necessary to help prevent tooth decay. Studies show that water fluoridation continues to help prevent tooth decay by at least 25% in children and adults, even with fluoride available from other sources, such as toothpaste.
#2 Use Toothpaste and Mouthwash with Fluoride
Toothpaste with fluoride has been responsible for a significant drop in cavities since 1960. Make sure to look for one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance to make sure it contains fluoride! Be sure to brush twice a day (morning and night) or as directed by your dentist and physician.
Mouthwash with fluoride can help make your teeth more resistant to decay, by bathing your teeth and creating a topical benefit.
#3 Visit Your Dentist for a Professional Application
If you have a good chance of getting cavities, your dentist can apply fluoride directly to your teeth during your dental visit with a gel, foam or rinse.
These three steps in getting fluoride can help significantly fight against cavities and help keep your teeth strong and long lasting! If you have any more questions about the benefits of fluoride, give us a call today at Sonora Office Phone Number 209-532-6718 !
Sep 3rd, 2019
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It is no secret that root canal therapy saves your natural teeth! By extracting the infected pulp inside the tooth, endodontists can rescue your teeth. What exactly is dental pulp though? It is a lot more important than you might think, so keep reading for some pulp trivia!
Pulp is the living part of the tooth. It is made of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue that feed the tooth vital nutrients for it to stay alive and healthy.
Dental pulp is your tooth’s alarm system. When something is going wrong with your teeth, such as trauma or decay, the pulp experiences pressure and sensitivity changes that you perceive as pain.
The pulp is responsible for dentin formation. Dentin is the tissue layer beneath the enamel that protects the pulp. Due to the translucency of enamel, dentin is visible through it and gives the tooth its color. Pulp contains cells called odontoblasts that initiate dentin creation.
The tooth can survive without pulp, but not infected pulp. Pulp is a crucial part of tooth development, but once a tooth has fully matured, it can get nutrients from surrounding tissue and the pulp is no longer necessary. However, infected tissue will cause major damage. It is the decaying pulp that makes root canal therapy necessary to save teeth that suffer pulp trauma.
Blood vessels and nerves in pulp are connected to gum tissue in the jaw. The apical foramen is a hole at the apex, or tip, of the tooth’s root. Blood vessels and nerves run from the jaw through the apical foramen and become part of the pulp once they enter the tooth.
Diseased gum tissue can cause pulp to become infected as well. Blood vessels and nerves connect the gum to the pulp. Therefore, the diseased gum tissue can enter the pulp and begin to infect it. Conversely, infected pulp can also spread and cause potential gum disease. This connection is very important to be aware of, because if one goes wrong, the other should get checked as well.
With all the functions of dental pulp in mind, it’s no wonder root canal therapy is such an important procedure! Call us today to schedule a consultation if you’re having tooth pain and considering root canal therapy.
Aug 6th, 2019
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While all endodontists are dentists, less than three percent of dentists are endodontists. Just like a doctor in any other field, endodontists are specialists because they’ve completed additional training beyond dental school. Their additional training focuses on diagnosing tooth pain and performing root canal treatment and other procedures relating to the interior of the tooth. In many cases, a diseased tooth can be saved with endodontic treatment.
#1 Endodontists Have Advanced Education
To become specialists, endodontists have two to three years of additional education in an advanced specialty program in endodontics after completing four years of dental school. They focus on studying diseases of the dental pulp and how to treat them.
#2 Endodontists Have Specialized Expertise
By limiting their practice to endodontics, endodontists focus exclusively on treatments of the dental pulp. They complete an average of 25 root canal treatments a week, while general dentists typically do two. They are skilled specialists in finding the cause of oral and facial pain that has been difficult to diagnosis.
#3 Endodontists Are Experts in Pain Management
Endodontists use specialized techniques to ensure patients are thoroughly comfortable during their treatments. They are experts in administering numbing medications, like Fentanyl and Versed. These medications are excellent choices for patients that may be anxious or dental phobic.
#4 Endodontists Use Cutting-Edge Technologies
Endodontists have materials and equipment designed to make your treatment more comfortable and successful. Digital radiographs and 3-D imaging allow endodontists to take detailed pictures of tiny tooth anatomy to better see the root canals and any related infections.
If you’re experiencing tooth pain, you have injured your tooth, your tooth is sensitive to hot or cold, and/or there is swelling around the teeth, gums or your face, you should make an appointment to see an endodontist. Call us today at Sonora Office Phone Number 209-532-6718 .
Jul 2nd, 2019
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Root canals have a reputation of being scary and painful. Of course, they’re never ideal but when you need one, you really need one. The course of extracting the infected pulp inside the chamber of the tooth is crucial in saving your natural tooth. We recommend always opting for a root canal if you have the choice. Upon deciding to go forward with a root canal, you should know what to expect. Below are the three simple steps that your endodontist will take to restore your tooth to a healthy and happy state.
1. Numb It!
Your endodontist will administer a numbing agent on the affected tooth and surrounding gum of the area that the root canal will be performed on. It is an extremely common belief that root canals are painful but, this is simply not true. If you have ever had a filling (91% of us have!) then you have a general idea as to what a root canal will feel like, as both of these treatments have the same sort of sensation.
2. Pull it!
Your endodontist will then move on to the next step, performing the pulpectomy. This is when an opening is created to extract the infected pulp within the chamber of the tooth. This infected pulp is what causes tooth pain, as it puts pressure on the nerve. Once the damaged pulp is removed, the pain will subside.
3. Fill It!
Once the deceased pulp has been removed, a filling is inserted in place of the dead pulp. The filling, which consists of gutta-percha material, is then sealed. This sealant is made from a cement material, similar to a regular filling.
And just like that—your tooth is saved! Do everything you can now to prevent extraction by practicing good oral hygiene habits by brushing and flossing every day. If you are suffering from tooth pain and think you may benefit from a root canal, give our office a call! Sonora Office Phone Number 209-532-6718
Jun 4th, 2019
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